Thursday, 21 July 2016

Make do and mend - Bag number two

I spent a day last weekend sewing hexagons together and then machined them onto the second bag which had a logo on one side which I didn't want.  I chose shades of blue for the logo side and the hexagons did a great job of covering the logo.
 It was very relaxing sewing the hexagons together.
 As I felt that the other side of the bag also needed a bit of brightening up, I sewed more hexagons together.  Five of these were given to me in a swap by Dotty's Daughter, so I hope she'll be pleased to see I am using them!
Here is a close up of the greens and blues.
I am really pleased with the way both bags have turned out and have enjoyed these relatively quick projects.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

A bit of upcycling - or should that be 'Make do and Mend'?

I was given two very nice thick cotton bags which was great.  However, there was a company logo printed on them which I didn't really want to see.  I made a calico patch and sewed it over the offending logo and then printed some patterns using wooden stamps and fabric paint.  I was really pleased with the end result. You can see the patched side above.
 The other side of the bag, without any logo.
The stamps I used were Blockwallah  stamp blocks which are hand carved in India out of a type of rosewood.  They are very decorative and beautiful in their own right and if I had an empty shelf, I would display them.  (I bought mine from Create and Craft  and I have bought them all with my hard earned money - no sponsoring or freebies here!)  I thought I would post about them because I really like them.
The second bag will be decorated with patchwork hexagons (once I have sewed them together...)
Buoyed by this success, I attempted another project.  I was going to throw the ironing board cover out because it had worn where the iron usually stands.  Then I had a brainwave and located an old cover which I had kept as a spare.  I cut a piece from that and patched it over the current cover and hey presto, a cover that we can still use.
OK, it looks a bit odd, but at least the colours work!  Now, what else needs sorting?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Poppies - Wave

 Part of the poppies sculpture - Wave -  from the Tower of London "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" , has come to Lincoln Castle as part of its tour.  As we hadn't been able to visit the sculpture in London during 2014, it was lovely to have the opportunity to see a part of it.  I took lots of photos, as you can imagine, and I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

It was a sobering thought that each poppy represented a life lost and that this was just one small element of the main sculpture.
I have always loved poppies and this beautiful painting was given to me for my 21st birthday by my parents.  It takes on an added significance now.
Lest we forget.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

June 2016 in the garden - a riot of roses despite the rain

It has been a very wet June this year.  I have been waiting relatively patiently for my roses, peonies and poppy to flower, only to see the blooms turning into a soggy mass.  However, on those few occasions when it wasn't actually raining, I did managed to take some photos.
I love roses and have gradually built up quite a collection in the borders and in pots.  Various shades of pink are my favourite but I am branching out into deeper shades and the odd apricot and white too. All of the roses are scented, but some have a stronger fragrance than others.  Above, top row l to r: Jacques Cartier, Constance Spry, Arthur de Sanchal (my latest purchase); middle row, l to r: Gertrude Jekyll, Bright as a Button, Ferdinand Pichard; bottom row l to r: New Dawn, Frilly Cuff and Cottage rose. I hope I have identified them correctly, but it is quite difficult, as several of them do look very similar.
Above top row l to r: For Your Eyes Only, Chandos Beauty, William Shakespeare 2000, middle row Molineux, bottom row l to r: Madame Hardy, Mary Rose and Rosa Mundi.  
My patio peonies have done well despite the rain.  Above on the left is Madrid, in the middle is a new one this year, Rome and on the right is the one poppy flower which wasn't ruined in the rain.  I have Patio Peony Kiev too, but it hasn't flowered this year.  
I treated myself to some new petunias called 'Night Sky' which I wasn't sure about when I saw them in a catalogue earlier in the year.  However, when I saw them in the flesh, I was intrigued by the patterns and I like the way each flower is different. They do seem to glow and are a darker purple in real life.  I suspect they are a bit like Marmite - love them or hate them - but I love them.  They are scented in the evening too, which is a bonus.  I am hoping that July might bring a little more sun, but with the weather in the UK, you just never know!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Open Gardens 2016

A village about twenty minutes from where we live had their Open Gardens on Sunday, so, as the weather was reasonable and I do enjoy nosing round other people's gardens, off we went.  We visited last time they were open, in 2014 and you can see the posts here and here . There was a variety of sizes of gardens but all had lots to interest the visitor.  Many of them had large borders, which showed the plants off beautifully.
 This poppy had escaped into the next door field.
 I liked this arrangement with peonies and delphiniums.  A nice place for a G & T (or cup of tea), depending on your preference.
There were small gardens behind a terrace of cottages which were beautifully maintained.  The owner of this garden made me laugh.  She told me that one of the organisers of the afternoon had sent all the owners badges to wear, but "mine's still in the envelope...I'm not wearing that!"
There were roses, lupins and geraniums a-plenty.
In the next door garden, there was some fiery planting with the orange and red of the potentilla.
 There was a very inviting deck chair in a quiet corner.
Hardy geraniums were everywhere and this one caught my eye with its gentle apricot and lilac tones.  It is a double flower, which meant it wasn't good for wildlife, but it was still very pretty.  I think it may be Geranium 'Summer Skies'.
These photos were from my favourite garden, which was very photogenic (and looked very labour intensive).
 There were some inviting shady area with lots of foxgloves... well as some sunny borders with hot colours.
 The screens and trellis dividing areas of the garden provided some pretty views.
 Doesn't this archway make you feel that you want to explore?
 The rose had climbed right to the top of the tree and looked amazing.
The front garden was full of roses, cat mint and geraniums.  Scruffy would have loved the cat mint - it is a good job he wasn't with us!  We had a lovely afternoon and enjoyed sandwiches, cake and tea at the Village Hall.  A perfect Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Visit to Barnsdale Gardens

 I was very lucky to visit Barnsdale Gardens on Sunday, with my friends Katy and Alison.   Geoff Hamilton, the TV gardener, created the gardens and they featured on Gardeners' World for many years, until Geoff's untimely death, twenty years ago.  He was a huge inspiration to me in my gardening and it was through watching him that I thought I might be able to grow things too.
It had been so wet, we wondered whether we would be able to go, and the weather forecast wasn't that great, but in the event, the heavens smiled on us and we only had a couple of showers.  The gardens are about an hour or so away, but I don't manage to visit as often as I would like (I hadn't visited since 2013), so this was a treat.  Thanks to the recent rain, the whole place was green and verdant and full of birdsong.  It was really quite magical.  Also, due to the rain, there weren't that many visitors, so we almost had the place to ourselves.  Above is a lovely wisteria.
 This is one of my favourite gardens, the 'Country Garden', which has some beautiful birch trees and shade loving plants which give a woodland feeling as you walk through.
 The Town Paradise Garden has really matured and was full of lush growth... was the Country Paradise Garden.  Hardy geraniums featured in most of the gardens.
 I was fascinated by the structure of this tree (I haven't a clue what it is).  It was quite spiky. (Edited to add: it is a young monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) - thanks to Amy for this).
 Looking across at the wildflower meadow from the Artisan's Cottage Garden.
 I have always liked this water feature, made from an old copper water tank, in the Recycled Garden.
 A little sparrow was enjoying a bath too.
 The Hosta garden displayed a wide range of green.  We noticed that some of the hostas were un-nibbled by snails, but others were rather holey - we decided this was all to do with the toughness of the leaves.
 The light shining through the leaves of the smoke bush caught my eye... did this combination of planting, which contrasted so well and looked very vibrant.
 I liked the pastel mix of the Nigella or Love-in-a-mist.
Dan Pearson's design for this 'Cottage Garden' always looks inviting.  It has fruit trees amongst the roses and other perennials, and a small square box maze.  When the roses on the arches are in flower, they look and smell amazing - a previous post showing them in flower is here.
 I know that Alchemilla Mollis can be invasive, but when it has been rained on and the water droplets collect like mercury on the leaves, it can be forgiven.
 We all liked the Herb Garden with its mix of medicinal and culinary plants.
This was the view when we had a cup of tea and were joined by a robin, looking for some crumbs (which Alison gave him, of course!)  It was so peaceful, listening to the birds, looking at the plants and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.